Signed On With McElroy Truck Lines -- Starting School March 4th

Topic 24552 | Page 2

Page 2 of 3 Previous Page Next Page Go To Page:
TexanTwoStep's Comment
member avatar

Hey ya'll,

Just wanted to give a quick update about my training. In short -- a lot of the same. However, I got REALLY lucky and got a shot at my CDL test on Tuesday (with less than 12 hours notice!). I passed my pre-trip part, but failed on my dang parallel by about 18 inches.....just the tiniest bit of the DOT bumper wasn't behind the back cone, so she failed me. I get to try again on April 5th, unless they call the school sooner and inform them of a cancellation.

The sad thing is, after my test, we went to the backing range and I nailed the entire course without any pull-ups or looks. I just let my nerves get the best of me.

As far as school goes, we had another guy fail his test on his pre-trip (we've been telling him to really study it, but he didn't listen), and one pass on Friday. The school is getting very crowded with 8-10 people per instructor. On our truck, we've been doing pre-trip in the morning, driving around towns in the morning, then backing in the afternoon. In all reality, it's a lot of the same every day and I'm ready to be done!

One thing that is aggravating is that every CDL testing center in my area is backed up 60+ days on appointments. The school is only four weeks long, and I got my last paycheck from my old job on Friday, so financially, I need to get out there and start driving.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

TexanTwoStep's Comment
member avatar

Early update. It's been one HELL of a day.

Today was my appointment for my re-test in Kilgore. I had already passed the pre-trip inspection and was scheduled to do my skills test (backing) then the practical road course, so as usual, I went in at 0700 to Career Trucking School at 0700. We decided to do some pre-trip drills for the first part of the morning, go get a minor part for the truck (one of the hood latches was frayed), then head over to Kilgore to help me drive around until my test at 1400.

Everything went well, until we got to Kilgore. I was driving on the interstate , and my instructor was in the passenger seat. Four other students were in the back of the truck. As usual, my instructor was telling me what turns to take, what the speed limit is, what gear I should be in, when suddenly, he started slurring his words and seemed very confused. We continued off the interstate and onto a major highway, while myself and another student (with prior healthcare experience) casually continued to talk to our instructor while I was driving.

That's when we realized that he was exhibiting all signs of a stroke.

We immediately pulled over when it was safe to do so, and I dialed 911. This is slightly ironic, because less than a month ago, I was a 911 dispatcher in Kilgore. The other medically trained student took the instructor's heart rate and ran him through basic questions and skills, where he was still confused and was showing obvious signs of a possible stroke / cardiac distress.

Less than 2 minutes after the initial call, the fire department and EMS were on scene and 10 minutes after that, our instructor was taken by ambulance to the hospital. By then, we had contacted the school (which is 35 minutes away), and they had another instructor enroute.

While waiting on the side of the highway for the other instructor, I had a realization. Two weeks ago, I failed my test because I was nervous and made a mistake backing. No other reason than that. I've been kicking myself for not passing on the first time, wondering why I "blew it", and today I found out. Now I'm not much of a religious person, but I believe that it was my destiny for myself and the other medically-trained student to be in that truck today. If we weren't, who knows if anyone else would've recognized the signs and got him help as quickly as we did. We grew together as a team on our truck more than we ever have.

Thankfully, our instructor is doing much better (I talked to him earlier today), and seems like he will make a full recovery. He thanked us for "not listening" (he was telling us that he was fine), and getting him medical attention. It broke my heart a bit because I could hear genuine thankfulness in his voice, something I seldom heard while working as a 911 dispatcher.

Oh, and one more small thing. I PASSED MY TEST AND NOW HAVE MY CLASS A CDL! I start McElroy orientation in Ennis, TX on Monday.

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

That’s an awesome day that not many can top! Congratulations dancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gif

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

dancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gif

Way to go!

jz3377's Comment
member avatar

Love that story! God put you right where He needed you. Excellent job, both on the CDL and saving a life. You're a hero.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
TexanTwoStep's Comment
member avatar

Thanks everyone for the well-wishes! I'm checked into Ennis at my hotel (very nice hotel!), and I'll be starting orientation with McElroy tomorrow! Nervous/excited about it! Expect an update tomorrow.

TexanTwoStep's Comment
member avatar

Hello Everyone!

We're midway through orientation week here in Ennis at McElroy Truck Lines (MTL), and it's been great! For those of you who do not know, MTL treats it's first week orientation as an interview, which means that you're NOT hired until they decide if you're a good fit for the company. I'm pretty confident that I won't have any problems and will get the invite back for next week.

Monday we started with only three people (myself and two others), and it was a day filled with videos, computer-based training, and PowerPoints. Also paperwork, paperwork, paperwork! We went over the rules, how we are not officially employees until we pass the official observation/orientation week, and general safety things. We were also issued a MTL Driver's Manual, FMCSA rules/regs book, and a packet of 100 questions to quiz us over the two manuals (That's due Friday). Other than that, it was a slow day. The other two prospects had hair follicle and urinalysis.

Tuesday morning rolls around, and just myself and one other guy showed up for the next day. We had more CBT's, videos, and my classmate had his agility test / physical. While he was doing that, I took my road test with the Safety Manager in MTL's truck. Holy CRAP what a difference from the beater school trucks I've been driving the past month! I did fairly well (passed with an "85", according to safety). After that, we went over to MTL's new terminal in Alma that is under construction and measured/marked the new backing range! Sometime this week, the contractors will be setting the concrete barriers for all the maneuvers that we'll be doing next week. I think it's cool that we got to do this because every time we pull into the Alma terminal, we can say that we helped in constructing that and helping future MTL drivers. Plus (hopefully), we'll be the first drivers to use the new backing range! After that, we did CBTs and met a driver-mentor who gave us some good info about the company and what it's like to be a driver. We were also issued our PPE.

Today (Wednesday), we learned about Federal regulations regarding HoS , logging, e-logs, and got our accounts set up for logging our hours. I think that's a good sign they want to keep us! That took up most of the morning, so we went to lunch with a driver (the same driver from Tuesday) and after lunch, went to the Lowe's DC with him where he showed us the ropes (literally, ;) ) in tarping/load securment and coupling/uncoupling. I really enjoyed this because I'm a hands-on learner, and this allowed me to see HOW it was done instead of being told how to do it. Then, we went back to the Ennis terminal and my classmate took his driving/road test while I did more computer-based training (CBT).

All in all, I think this was the best decision I've made in my life in a long time. Everyone I've met at MTL have been super friendly, welcoming, and honest. The company itself takes pride in it's work, and as a military veteran, that is important to me.

I'll update in a few more days to keep everyone in the loop!

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

CSA:

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle

FMCSA:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The FMCSA was established within the Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000. Their primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.

What Does The FMCSA Do?

  • Commercial Drivers' Licenses
  • Data and Analysis
  • Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement
  • Research and Technology
  • Safety Assistance
  • Support and Information Sharing

Fm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Old School's Comment
member avatar

These are great updates! Thanks again for doing this. Trust me, people are reading these things.

TexanTwoStep's Comment
member avatar

Hey everyone,

I've decided that I'm going to try to do weekly updates, probably on Saturdays since that will me my day off. Today I'll go ahead and recap what training has been like since last week.

Thursday: Last Thursday (3/28), we did a LOT of classwork. Route planning (using a road carrier's atlas), computer-based training and videos regarding safety, the SMITH system of driving, and talked a lot about safety. At McElroy, if you are in an avoidable accident or it was due to faulty equipment that you knew about, you get remedial training which is unpaid. This can last for up to 8 hours, so you'll be stuck at the terminal , so safety is definitely number one here. We also went to the Lowe's DC and tarped/strapped loads that were leaving with driver/mentors. I found out I'm able to strap/tarp a load in around 45 minutes!

Friday: 3/29 - Orientation is officially over and I am now a probationary employee at McElroy Truck Lines! We did more CBT's, tarp-folding, and yard skills. Because there were two of us, we got to head home early for the weekend (1300). After our weekend, we were expected to check into the hotel on Sunday NLT 2100. I got to the hotel at 1400 and went fishing with my buddy from class (and only classmate, lol). Over the past week, we've been fishing every day and have caught 47 keeper crappie and 40 sand bass! We have been cleaning them in the hotel parking lot and had a fish fry. Beats the hell out of eating microwaved food!

Monday: 4/1 - We did a lot more CBTs and SMITH system videos regarding defensive driving. More route planning, yard skills and road test. We also began packing the old terminal for the company's move to the brand-new terminal in Alma! It's absolutely gorgeous and state of the art. Operations will be moved by the weekend.

Tuesday: 4/2 - Computer-based training (CBTs, noticing a trend here?), yard skills, preventive maintenance skills, pre-trip inspections, and we checked tire pressure/tread depth in some trailers and filled them with the gladhand hose if needed. All in all, a decent day. We also went to the new terminal and checked on how the backing range was coming along (the contractors are setting concrete barriers for the backing range, definitely not for the feint of heart!), and they hadn't even started. More on this later. We also took four loads (in the sleeper) of Safety Dept's things to the new terminal.

Wednesday: 4/3 - CBT's, more safety videos, then we went driving. Both of us got about 100 miles through some pretty tough areas, which helped with my trailer awareness and up/downshifting. We put the smith system into practice by aiming high in steering, leaving ourselves an out, getting the "big picture", keeping our eyes moving, leaving ourselves an out, and making sure they see us. After lunch we checked on the backing range again, which was coming along nicely. We backed a bit (45s/straight/an "L" back which is like a hybrid parallel park), then were done for the day.

Thursday: 4/4 - CBT's, then we spent the entire day at the backing range while our trainer/safety manager took care of business at the Alma terminal with the director of operations and director of safety, who flew in from Alabama to sign off for the move. Myself and my classmate were able to get A LOT of practice done because it was just us, and were able to get through the entire course at least 5 times.

Also, I found out today that I'm having to go to Montgomery, Alabama for five weeks for my next phase of training. I'm a little bummed about that because I won't be able to be home weekly (one of MTL's selling points), but I'm also excited and ready to get it started. Thankfully, because I'll be away from home for so long, they're upping my pay and providing me with a hotel on the weekends while my driver-mentor is off. I was in the Coast Guard and on a ship for a while before this job, so five weeks away from home is nothing. My wife may disagree.

If anyone has any questions, let me know! I'll try to be as active as possible, but I'll be on the road with my driver mentor starting Sunday morning.

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Army 's Comment
member avatar

Congrats, and learn lots. I look forward to following the rest of your training.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Page 2 of 3 Previous Page Next Page Go To Page:

New Reply:

New! Check out our help videos for a better understanding of our forum features

Bold
Italic
Underline
Quote
Photo
Link
Smiley
Links On TruckingTruth


example: TruckingTruth Homepage



example: https://www.truckingtruth.com
Submit
Cancel
Upload New Photo
Please enter a caption of one sentence or less:

Click on any of the buttons below to insert a link to that section of TruckingTruth:

Getting Started In Trucking High Road Training Program Company-Sponsored Training Programs Apply For Company-Sponsored Training Truck Driver's Career Guide Choosing A School Choosing A Company Truck Driving Schools Truck Driving Jobs Apply For Truck Driving Jobs DOT Physical Drug Testing Items To Pack Pre-Hire Letters CDL Practice Tests Trucking Company Reviews Brett's Book Leasing A Truck Pre-Trip Inspection Learn The Logbook Rules Sleep Apnea
Done
Done

0 characters so far - 5,500 maximum allowed.
Submit Preview

Preview:

Submit
Cancel

Join Us!

We have an awesome set of tools that will help you understand the trucking industry and prepare for a great start to your trucking career. Not only that, but everything we offer here at TruckingTruth is 100% free - no strings attached! Sign up now and get instant access to our member's section:
High Road Training Program Logo
  • The High Road Training Program
  • The High Road Article Series
  • The Friendliest Trucker's Forum Ever!
  • Email Updates When New Articles Are Posted

Apply For Paid CDL Training Through TruckingTruth

Did you know you can fill out one quick form here on TruckingTruth and apply to several companies at once for paid CDL training? Seriously! The application only takes one minute. You will speak with recruiters today. There is no obligation whatsoever. Learn more and apply here:

Apply For Paid CDL Training

About Us

TruckingTruth was founded by Brett Aquila (that's me!), a 15 year truck driving veteran, in January 2007. After 15 years on the road I wanted to help people understand the trucking industry and everything that came with the career and lifestyle of an over the road trucker. We'll help you make the right choices and prepare for a great start to your trucking career.

Read More

Becoming A Truck Driver

Becoming A Truck Driver is a dream we've all pondered at some point in our lives. We've all wondered if the adventure and challenges of life on the open road would suit us better than the ordinary day to day lives we've always known. At TruckingTruth we'll help you decide if trucking is right for you and help you get your career off to a great start.

Learn More